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Day 2

PictureDay two was a very special day.  The group awoke after some well needed rest and had breakfast together.  During the meal, we did our first devotional of the mission trip.  After breakfast several of the boys from the orphanage stopped by the hotel and picked up all of our bags so we wouldn’t have to transport them throughout the day; then it was off to shop.  Our entire group, along with an interpreter invaded the local grocery store and filled six shopping carts full of treats, gifts, and supplies.  Our bill totaled 15,000 Rubles! 

After shopping ‘till we dropped we enjoyed a traditional Russian lunch of salad, soup and pork covered in mayonnaise and cheese , as Jeff went on to visit the local minister of education.  From there we met at a ministry center funded by Children’s Hopechest.  At the center we met several orphanage graduates, many of whom our returning team members have built strong relationships with through past visits and correspondence.  It was exciting to hear that some are studying to be accountants, lawyers and home decorators.  After lots of fun and ping-pong, we were finally off to our primary destination, the Rybnoe Orphanage.

As we pulled up to the orphanage, although the sun was down, we saw many young children waiting to greet us as we exited the van.  When we walked inside there was an immediate feeling of warmth and love.  At this point our group had fun introducing ourselves and catching up with old and new friends.  It was particularly fun for me to share my iPod selections with the teen boys who were blasting Russian Hip-Hip on a loud-speaker.  From there our team paid a visit to each family unit and hugged them all goodnight.

Overall, today was an amazing blessing to me, as well as the team.  I have never been hugged so many times in a single day as I have this day.  My most exciting part of the day came when I was personally introduced to the young boy, Kostya, whom I sponsor through Children’s Hopechest.  Kostya ia a blessing and I was very happy to meet him.  I even got to autograph his “American” football!

I thank God for all of the smiles and hugs I’ve received today and I look forward to an amazing week.